“Words that are strictly true seem to be paradoxical.”
That sounds like love to me!
“To love something you must set it free.” Yep, a paradox.
Webster’s Dictionary defines paradox as “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.”
How do you deal with the problems in your relationships? Do you escape the problems by immersing in the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.?
Everyone needs a break, certainly. But I think sometimes we deal with our relational problems in a paradoxical way. Information-seeking has become the self-soothing strategy for the problem, pain, or loneliness that we all feel.
But does it really help?
Consumption becomes the main palliative to deal with our problems. And the internet is the primary market of consumption. Marketing’s general premise is that the sex sells. Research shows that we make decisions based on the attractiveness of the presentation. All of this information-seeking directs us away from intimacy and relationship and towards consuming novel or excitatory material as a self-soothing strategy. And it may provide temporary pleasure, but much of the time reality sets back in and then. . . letdown.
Consumption also leads to social comparison. Do you compare yourselves with others? Do you feel bad about yourself if you don’t have enough, look good enough, succeed enough? Perhaps if you are not informed enough, you will be judged critically and found un-interesting. Even worse, we might believe there is something wrong with us if we do not compete or achieve to an ever-growing hyper-competitve level of success. I think this creates a deep sense of anxiety, self-criticism and aloneness, particularly for children and teens.
The internet and the age of information is a paradox.
There is social and personal utility in gathering information. How else could I get a beautiful picture of Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel? Did you know you can get 441 free classic books at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s site?
Here it is: http://classics.mit.edu/
And the future is hyperconnectivity.
We stand to gain so much by all this information and yet it creates so much distance between us. I often hear families tell me that everyone is together under one roof but totally alone in their own rooms on an internet device. I see partners sitting together but distractedly checking their mobile phones every few minutes. Repetitively, nearly obsessively. Social media is increasingly cited in divorce filings.
Taking a break or turning away from your relationships or your internal distress doesn’t meet the need that really requires attention. It just delays it. Turning towards your partner, family member, or inside yourself is a better strategy because it attends to the pain and creates space for intimacy and love.
Turn towards the challenges and conflicts in your relationships and within yourself. Attend to your partner’s needs in a relationship and you will find a way of loving and nurturing your needs as well.
This is paradox logic and it is love.
You can find happiness, intimacy, and self-love in relationship. Interpersonal neurobiology is scientifically validating what is truly nurturing–the intimate love you feel in connection with another. It is this connection that makes us feel safe and accepted. This holds true for your relationship with yourself.
Here are some loving behaviors:
Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.
Learn to let go of your resentments. Living in the past gives you no room for what is before you now.
Allow relationships to grow and change. Change comes from commitments, agreements, boundaries, and freedom.
Express your needs. Understand your partner’s/child’s limits. Accept, respect, grieve, and repair.
Find other healthy means for satisfying an unmet need.
Check in with your loved ones daily.
Practice kindness, even when having the tough talks.
Be honest, be safe, and be faithful. This the bedrock of love.
Love isn’t about the right beliefs, it is about the right actions.